End times prophecy - What does the bible say?
A significant amount of Bible Scripture is devoted to prophecy and much of that deals with end times prophecy. Bible prophecy proves beyond doubt that God is in control and knows the future. So much prophecy is included in His Word to show that He wants us to understand the things to come. Most of the events prophesied in Scripture have already come to pass, such as Israel becoming a nation again. But a few are yet unfulfilled including the Rapture of the Church and the promised return of Christ the Messiah to Earth. These two events are often confused and thought of as being one and the same. They are not.
While the actual word rapture is not used in the New Testament, but means "caught up or catching away." It is based on 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, which refers to the time when "The Church" - all members of the body of Christ, those of the past and living at the time, will be reunited with Jesus. It says, "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ [Christians who have died] will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (See also 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.)
Until that time, we are told to be ready, be watchful, and repent of our sins (Matthew 24:42, 44). We do not know when that exact time will be but God give us, through prophecy, the signs of the times that lets us know how short time is for Jesus' return. Our world will become more and more intolerant of God and His ways. People will lose love and compassion for each other (Matthew 24:12). Wars, famines, pestilence, and disease will reach proportions never seen before in our history. There will come a time known as the Great Tribulation that will last for 7 years (Matthew 24:21 and Revelation 7:14).
The Old Testament prophets (Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel) and the book of Revelation relay the visions and revelations given to God's messengers. Through them we are told that midway through the 7 years, a man will emerge bringing a deceiving, false hope to all that do not know Jesus Christ. He is called the anti-Christ and has been groomed and set in place by Satan. He will seduce many and will be thought to have all the answers for bringing about world peace, thus becoming sole leader of a one-world government. He will be worshiped in place of God. At the end of the 7 years, Christ will return with His saints and through the battle of Armageddon, be victorious over Satan and the wicked of the earth.
Revelation 19:20 says "But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur." Chapter 20 verse 2 and 3 tells us that the Devil, Satan, is then bound into the sealed bottomless pit where he can no longer "deceive the nations." Jesus will restore Earth and reign as Kings of Kings forever.
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